ROME CATCHES BOCCE FEVER YET AGAIN-WORLD SERIES UNDERWAY
Team Bud Light: Left to right: Vinny George, David Smith, Frank Costello, Bryan Costello
Photos-Kevin Montano MHTS-Photo Album
MHTS Summer Fun Tour
When one hears the phrase “World Series,” they often think of October baseball and multimillion dollar contracts. While it may involve none of those three things, a different kind of World Series brings a similar level of excitement right into our own backyard each year and that World Series is none other than the World Series of Bocce.
This year’s edition, the 41st in the history of the event, is underway and runs through Sunday, July 20th at the Toccolana Club in Rome. A crowd that numbers well into the hundreds, if not thousands lined the Club’s 15 bocce courts to watch 36 women’s teams and 93 men’s teams compete for close to $25,000 in prize money.
The field encompasses a wide range of skill levels, from the recreational player looking to have a bit of fun on the bocce courts, to the seasoned veterans gunning for the top prize. One of those teams looking for the big prize is the defending open champions, Mellace’s Legal Eagles. Team member Tino Emmanuele has been playing since age 13 and offered his insights on what it takes to be a champion.
“It’s a field of great competitors, so it’s going to be very tough to defend the title,” Emmanuele said. “The biggest key to victory is staying composed and not getting rattled.
You’re going to make mistakes. It’s about being able to pick yourself up after those mistakes and be able to continue to play well moving forward.”
At 6 p.m. Friday, the quest for the 93 men’s teams in the field began. Team MHTS ventured over to Court #2 for a matchup between the Plymouth Seaside Club of Plymouth, Mass, (Mopes Abound) and a local entry headed by one of the men who helps make the tournament and our work at MHTS possible.
That man is Mr. Dave Smith of Tri-Valley Beverage. It was Smith’s Bud Light squad that took home an opening round, wire-to-wire, 16-4 victory over the visitors from Plymouth.
Much like the Legal Eagles, Team Bud Light made it perfectly clear that they had no intentions of going home early.
Vinny George helped Team Bud Light break the ice with a well placed ball to put two in front of the pallino.
Plymouth dislodged one ball, but were unable to get much closer than George’s as Bud Light took a 1-0 lead at the end of the opening frame.
The lead just got bigger from there. Bud Light featured an excellent clearing game en route to a 10-0 run to open play, including a 4-0 sweep of the third round.
But even so, a brilliantly played fourth frame was the highlight of the match. With Seaside finally getting some of the inside position they struggled to find early, Frank Costello pegged the pallino to the end boards with pinpoint accuracy.
With both teams putting their next shots within inches of the repositioned pallino, Bryan Costello had perhaps the shot of the match.
Having to traverse the length of the court, Costello softly laid a ball in that wedged itself between the closest Plymouth shot and the pallino to seal two more points for Bud Light.
Seaside finally broke through with four points of their own in the fifth frame, but Bud Light continued to pick up insurance points en route to the 16-4 victory and Smith was all smiles after a good start to a weekend he looks forward to each year.
“All four guys were firing on all cylinders in that game. Not just one guy played well, we all did,” Smith said. “I think our chances are good that we’ll make it to Sunday this year. I’m glad to see people here having a good time. It’s a family atmosphere and that’s what it’s all about.”
The tournament runs through Sunday at the Toccolana Club in Rome. Admission to the tournament is free and ample parking, affordable concessions, and beverages are available.
MHTS wishes the best of luck to both Team Bud Light and Team Budweiser, along with the rest of the field at this year’s World Series.